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DCF says 35 babies dropped off at ERs under Safe Haven Law

HARTFORD  — Efforts are continuing to get the word out about a law that allows newborns to be dropped off at Connecticut hospitals, without fear of criminal prosecution.

Department of Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell said Thursday that her agency, as required under a 2018 law, has begun providing local school boards with information about the Safe Haven Law that can be included in school health curriculum.

Wentzell says various groups working with the Department of Education are also being educated about the law. For example, information will be included in next month’s annual training for about 2,000 school nurses.

Department of Children and Families Commissioner Vanessa Dorantes says 35 babies, age 30 days or younger, were dropped off at emergency rooms since the year 2000. The most recent was November 2018.

For more on Safe Havens, click here.

Here is how the Safe Haven Act works:

  • The law enables a parent to bring an infant 30 days or younger to a hospital emergency room and avoid prosecution for abandonment.
  • A nurse will ask the parent for their name and for medical information on the infant and parent. The parent does not have to provide that information.
  • DCF will obtain custody and place the baby with a family who is already licensed and intends to adopt the baby.
  • Safe Haven babies are placed into homes with families that adopt the child. In one instance, a Safe Haven baby was placed into a permanent home of a relative
  • The Department will provide support to the baby’s new family while terminating the biological parent’s parental rights so that the adoption can become final.
  • Connecticut law requires that a child can only be placed by the Department with a person licensed to provide foster or adoptive care.
  • Enables a parent to bring an infant 30 days or younger to a hospital emergency roomand avoid prosecution for abandonment.
  • A nurse will ask the parent for their name and for medical information on the infant and parent. The parent does not have to provide that information.
  • DCF will obtain custody and place the baby with a family who is already licensed and intends to adopt the baby.
  • Safe Haven babies are placed into homes with families that adopt the child. In one instance, a Safe Haven baby was placed into a permanent home of a relative
  • The Department will provide support to the baby’s new family while terminating the biological parent’s parental rights so that the adoption can become final.
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